1971 AMC Javelin 401 – Vintage Road Test Video With Bud Lindemann
Watch a vintage road test of the 1971 AMC Javelin 401 with Bud Lindemann.
Posted on YouTube By: John Doe
to an automaker for the most improvement in any one year.
I think our choice would be American Motors and the 1971 Javelin.
When it was first introduced it represented a radical departure for the conservative stylists at American.
But, it was the necessary elixir to bring their sales charts into the upward swing.
All the changes are not in the looks department either, it’s a strong performer as well.
In fact, on the track, this new Javelin offered many surprises.
Major changes for the automakers go in three-year cycles. Thus, for 1971 the Javelin received all-new sheet metal, and the hats off job for styling would have to go to Dick Teague.
Probably the noticeable changes are the bubbled front fenders. Slightly reminiscent of the Corvette however this similarity ends there. Because the Javelin is a handler.
“Because the Javelin is a handler”
Our tester had the top-of-the-line 401 cubic inch v8 delivering 330 horsepower with 430 foot-pounds of torque at 3,400 RPMs.
Linked up with a three-speed automatic transmission. Our javelin wasted no time coming off the line it took 2.9 seconds to hit 30.
For shoes, we have the Goodyear East 6015 tires they dug well and our second run wrapped 45 in 5 seconds flat.
Essentially this 401 is a stroked 390 and it did well in all of the acceleration runs. 7.1 seconds after we left the line for the third time we hit 60 miles an hour.
Our heavy-duty suspension paid off well in the pylon runs. The car showed some body lean however did not feel excessive. On the inside, recovery seemed fairly smooth but the rebound was a little violent as we neared the end of the run.
Here’s a head-on look in slow motion. We shorten the distance between the cones and took this run at 45 miles an hour.
Heat buildup was intense. From fifty miles an hour, it took 98 feet to stop. We had discs in the front with drums in the rear and they were hot. After three panic stops the pedal faded almost to the floor.
This 70 miles an hour stop brought us to a halt in 209 feet. The stoppers left a little to be desired.
“The stoppers left a little to be desired”
In 1970 the Penske Donohue combination brought the Javelin into the winner’s circle, in several the SCCA trans-am races. Some of the knowledge gained through racing was definitely reflected in the handling of our test car.
This car is not the most forgiving we’ve ever tested. But, the weight distribution and power combinations were excellent.
In hard high-speed cornering, some near-race characteristics become prevalent. You have to be right on, entering the turn, at which point mild understeer sets in. But once, into the turns, it feels like a rum runner special. You’ll wring it through with power on, in a four-wheel drift.
“It feels like a rum runner special”
The Javelin has coil springs up front with semi-elliptical leaves in the rear. Sway bars fore and aft and traction bars at each rear wheel. This heavy-duty suspension system was an excellent compromise, of good handling on the track, and a comfortable ride on the highway.
A few years back, a teenager whose father owned a Rambler was never too excited about acquiring the family car for a date. But, AMC is fast becoming a young company. While they’re a long way from dominating the muscle car field.
“Cars like the Javelin, at least make them a respected member of the family.”
1971 AMC Javelin 401 Road Test results.
0 to 30 MPH 2.9 seconds
0 to 45 MPH 5 seconds
0 to 60 MPH 7.1 seconds
58 to 0 MPH 98 feet
70 to 0 MPH 209 feet